Richard Charkin is an unrepentant thief. Charkin, a UK executive with publisher Macmillan, attended last week’s Book Expo America in New York and decided to make his feelings about Google Book Search clear by teaching Google a lesson: he stole two of the company’s laptops.
His point was that Google Book Search is “stealing” the work of authors and publishers without permission, and Charkin wanted to see if Google’s boffins enjoyed having the same thing done to them. He recounts the incident on his personal blog. “A colleague and I simply picked up two computers from the Google stand and waited in close proximity until someone noticed,” he says. “This took more than an hour. Our justification for this appalling piece of criminal behaviour? The owner of the computer had not specifically told us not to steal it. If s/he had, we would not have done so. When s/he asked for its return, we did so. It is exactly what Google expects publishers to expect and accept in respect to intellectual property.”